Well, I had earlier described our impending Northern League match as being a visit to the “Stockport Slaughterhouse” and it didn’t need a genius to see why! However there were some unexpected instances of light relief for us courtesy of 2017 Skipper Jason Keith. In previous years we’ve had to rely on the dual spearhead of Jason and Gavin Parr to save us from total rout almost everywhere.
Vikings display their new race jerseys in the Stockport sunshine
This year Jason’s out there on his own creating opportunities for us to avoid complete whitewash against much younger and stronger opposition where the rest of us are simply out of our depth now. Twice he got the better of Jake Read and it was perhaps fitting that Jake got his revenge at the end of the league match in the NL Match Race, the Stockport flier also riding unselfishly for his partner during those first two clashes and suffering for it. Likewise while home skipper Ben Higham was doing the same for Louis Wright in heat 10 he couldn’t get back the ground he’d lost on Jason.
Stockport veteran Terry Norman was unbeaten and was extremely quick as always while all of their youngsters impressed massively, Daniel Mason and Louis Wright also maxing out against the Vikings.
Although Jason’s scoring was badly affected by his unselfishness he rode brilliantly to get us over the 60 point mark at the home of the six-time League Champions who themselves have been hit by rider movement but are producing some brilliant teenagers to compensate for that, and led superbly by Ben are surely destined for more titles.
Amazingly we scored exactly the same in the Division Two encounter. This time however there was a bit more to cheer about with Andy Knowles, Shane Gray, Daniel Thompson and at last Bradley Stansfield getting stuck in really well. They couldn’t stop three home maximums but their effort was above expectation in a match where we expected another whitewash.
I have to thank Neil for doing what he doesn’t really want to this season after a footy injury (serves him right – right?) and stepping into the fray. That stopped me having to make my first Division Two appearance. Although actually I would have refused anyway, I'm just not going to do it!
Paul Thompson took a really nasty fall trying to tough it out between the two Stockport boys in heat 10 or was it 12? His extended elbows caused the heavy crash but the effort he put into that race was excellent and he's been going very quickly at our training sessions too. Don't think his wife would have been too impressed when he got home! We learn from our mistakes, I hope.